Artist Spotlight, Audiophiles, Featured, Interviews, Jazz, Music History »

Michael Cuscuna: Jazz Spelunker

Posted October 1, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Michael Cuscuna is a jazz curator and archivist, and a man you can trust. Today, vinyl is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, but many vinyl albums turn out not to analog at all: they’re mastered from digital files. You’re losing a generation of sound. The best companies: Analogue Productions, Impex, Mobile Fidelity, and Cuscuna’s Mosaic Records all go straight into record company archives and …

Audiophiles, Featured, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass: Still Amazing

Posted September 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Earlier this year, I got a copy of the Speakers Corner LP reissue of Coltrane’s incandescent 1961 classic, Africa/Brass. The other night I listened to it after listening to some straight-ahead, more mainstream jazz. I was amazed, even though I’ve heard this album many, many times. It was recorded by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, produced by Bob Thiele, and the Speakers Corner vinyl reissue …

Featured, Headline, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #71: Overlooked Unusual Songs, Part 2

Posted September 4, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Last year, I did a show where I pulled older songs that still need some love. Now it’s time for Part 2!
We start with an R-rated Tahitian song from 1931: a love song chosen by illustrator and melomane Robert Crumb from an old 78 rpm record he found in France. After that, an album that David Byrne once gave to his friends at Christmas …

Featured, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Dick Dale’s Surf Anthem Is Remake Of Traditional Greek Song

Posted August 29, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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The surf’s up in California (thanks to Hurricane Marie from Mexico) as 15-foot waves have been pounding beaches from Mexico to Malibu. I just heard Dick Dale‘s most famous surf song, “Misirlou” and was reminded that its roots lie far away from our local beaches.
This legendary tune originated as a traditional Mediterranean song from 1920s Greece. It may have even first performed in the late …

African, Art, Literature & Film, Featured, Latin, Music History »

Cubans Trace Musical Roots Back to Africa…Once Again

Posted August 18, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Cuban music is a combination of Spanish décima poetry and African music and rhythms, but we know that the driving forces in Cuban music are the African polyrhythms, not the poetry. Some might say that about rock and roll, too.
Ned Sublette in his authoritative study, Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo, traces back to the secret societies formed by Cuban …

Classical, Featured, Latin, Music History »

The Triangle: Easy to Play or Muito Complicado?

Posted August 13, 2014 by | 4 Comments
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Eric Hopkins, percussionist for the Utah Symphony, was featured in a recent NPR story about playing the triangle in a classical orchestra. Here are some of his Triangle 101 tips on how to play the triangle when performing Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.
Your To-Do List…

Decide what beaters to use. Stainless steel or the more malleable brass? Heavy or light, and to what degree?
Decide where on the …

Featured, Headline, Interviews, Latin, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #67: MOLAA Celebrates Palladium, Mecca of Mambo

Posted August 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Photos of the Palladium: Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Mario Bauza, Machito, and classic mambo dancers on the Palladium Ballroom dance floor.
Guido Herrera-Yance is one of the best tropical latin deejays in LA, and we who love salsa and all the other forms of tropical music are fortunate to have him on the air.
But deejaying is not all he does: he’s organized a popular Summer …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, French, Music History, RIP »

Jacques Brel’s Haunting Song: “Les Marquises”

Posted August 3, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Last night, I dreamt about the title track from Jacques Brel’s final album called, “Les Marquises,” named for the Marquesas Islands, where he spent his final years away from France. He had purchased a ’62 sailboat and sailed to the islands from France. The journey took something like six months via the Panama Canal.
The Belgian singer-songwriter had been earlier diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his lung that …

African, Featured, Headline, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #66: Nigeria’s Musical Rebels

Posted August 1, 2014 by | 1 Comment
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This week’s show is about songs that take Nigeria’s government and politics to task. Nigeria is rich in natural resources but has been plagued since time immemorial by government corruption. ‘Kleptocracy’ is a word sometimes employed. Nigeria exported 37.2 billion barrels of oil in 2011 at the average price of $110 per barrel, which would follow that 2011 revenues should have added up to…er…my calculator can’t …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History »

Billie Holiday’s Saddest Song

Posted July 13, 2014 by | 2 Comments
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The other night I heard an instrumental version of “You’ve Changed”, which is unusual; you don’t hear very many versions of this most sad of songs, either vocal or instrumental. The most famous version is Billie Holiday‘s version from her swan song album, Lady in Satin.

She was dying in the hospital when that record was released in 1958. She has the sad distinction of …

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